Writing Update

Not a great day for writing today. “Who Remembers Molly” has been sent to The Harrow. “Indications” is off to Black October Magazine and Borderlands 6 for consideration, and that’s about it. I did write up about 900 words of outline for The Terassic Cycle; mostly rehashing of background material, though it’s good to have it done because it answers some questions for me that have bugged me for quite awhile now.

I also had some ideas for some of the other products that AO Enterprises (from “Joe’s Salvation” — and by the way, has anyone figured out what “AO” stands for? I know, but I’m wondering if anyone even guessed that it might stand for something) might be trying to sell. They may well end up being featured in a series of stories. in the future.

Now THIS is cool

The $100 laptop moves closer to reality

They won’t be out for a couple of years, but I want one of these. A $100 laptop, complete with a hand crank for providing power when no power source is available!

Reason #33223 why my wife is cooler than yours

After the first day of the advanced writers’ workshop at Dragon*Con, I mentioned to Jennifer that the laptop bag I’ve been using to carry around my notebooks and snacks and medicine was getting awfully heavy; even without the laptop, the thing weighs about eight pounds (I’m not kidding), and this becomes painful on my back after awhile. I told her I was thinking about getting a lightweight messenger bag just to carry around my notebooks and pens and possibly a book for days when all I was going to do was go somewhere and write (which I do without my laptop more and more these days). So she went and made me this satchel (after letting me approve the final design and choose the yarn, of course). I love it! It’s just the right size for the leatherbound notebook I keep all my drafts and working copies in plus a couple of books and some pens, but it’s also incredibly sturdy and light.

Note the Serenity pin on the flap, which I got at an advance screening two weeks ago. Bwah ha haa!

In writing news, I’m surprised by how well “Joe’s Salvation” has gone over. I slapped that one out in just about half an hour plus another fifteen minutes for quick revisions, expecting it to be another throwaway piece. Now I think it’s actually publishable.

Plus, I’m almost done with the most recent round of revisions on “Who Remembers Molly”. I tried to add in some more humorous elements without being blatant, and bring some more depth to Molly herself. Plus I realized that one of the subtexts I was trying so hard to get across just wasn’t happening, so I finally just decided to spell it out bluntly. It never pays to assume that your readers are stupid, of course, but it also never pays to assume that they see the same things that you do.

Who was behind Katrina?

Who was really behind the devastation and catastrophe caused by Hurricane Katrina? Apparently, if you answered, “No one, it was a freakin’ hurricane, duh!” you’d be wrong:

WEATHER WARS by Scott Stevens

Not only does this fellow conclude that all weather all over the world is controlled by nefarious forces, but that the nefarious forces controlling the weather over the United States are none other than the Japanese Yakuza and Aum Shinrikyo. The Yakuza I know very little about, but Aum Shinrikyo? Come on, those guys couldn’t even organize a successful nerve gas attack in Tokyo.

This makes me wonder who controls the weather over Japan. It must obviously be the Sicilian Mafia. And what portion of global weather does the IRA control?

It occurs to me that if powerful weather control devices like what Mr. Stevens proposes really do exist, and in such abundance that Aum Shinrikyo can get their hands on some, then why doesn’t Al-Qaeda have one of their own? And if they do, why are we still here?

This man is a weather man who quit his job in Idaho to pursue this research. Takes all kinds, I guess.

Meta Satire?

I’ve been thinking about satire quite a bit lately; I’m not sure why, except perhaps that it’s been recommended to me as a form of therapy. The idea is simple: take something that upsets you about the world and write something funny about it and hope that Someone In Power will notice and do something to fix the woes you’ve so cleverly pointed out. It’s harder to do than you might think. The few satirical pieces I’ve written work, I think, either because they’re well-written or because my readers owe me a lot of money.

But I began to wonder last week whether some sort of meta-satire can be written. Take reality shows, for example. The phenomenon seems to be dying down, thank God. The Apprentice may still be one of the most popular shows around right now, but it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing Survivor: Antarctica anytime soon. But for awhile, reality shows were such a huge part of our culture, and such a stupid idea, that satirizing them become just too simple. Before long, satires of reality shows became just as prevalent as the reality shows themselves. At least one move — Series 7: The Contenders — was made, and perhaps a dozen anthology series had an episode spoofing the concept of reality television. It got to the point where writing a story spoofing reality shows was just as clichéd as reality shows themselves.

So I got to wonder: would it have been possible to write a story satirizing the satirization of reality shows? I’m imagining something about a bunch of writers sitting around with guns ready to shoot each other for the best reality show spoof, something like that. Could something like that have worked? On a slightly different tack, would it be possible to make a movie spoofing all of the Leslie Nielsen films that spoofed spy movies or airport dramas? Or would it have been something that only a few people in America would have enjoyed, congratulating each other on having understood the joke while simultaneously trying to one-up each other with stories about how they saw infinitely more subtle layers of meaning in the jokes?

I’m not sure, personally. I think that only one or two levels of mockery are possible before any meaning is lost.

As always, there’s nothing even remotely resembling coherence or clarity in this entry. Just assume it’s done here.

Interview: Neil Gaiman and Joss Wedon

My wife pointed me to this:

TIME.com: Interview: Neil Gaiman and Joss Wedon

Two of my favorite creative geniuses together on the same… er, website. I take some comfort from the fact that they’re both in their 40’s and I’m 37; on the other hand, they’ve both been working since their late teens.

Writing Update #whatever

Today was a pretty good day for writing. I did some basic revision to the latest draft of “Who Remembers Molly”, hoping against hope that this will be the final one, and I actually wrote two short-short stories: “Blink”, a study of fear, and “Joe’s Salvation”, a little satire about the modern American quest for spirituality and lawsuits. I’m not sure if either of these little dribbles work the way they’re supposed to, but I had fun writing them and I think they’re both strong enough first drafts to merit further work. I think I’m more excited about “Joe’s Salvation” if only because it’s a longer story with a stronger plot. “Blink” is probably going to end up being part of something much larger.